Lots of Updates.

We have lots of news to share about Baby Boy, traveling and our fundraisers…

Earlier this week Joel spoke with the DRC coordinator from our agency.  While we didn’t get any photo updates like we were hoping, we did at least learn that Baby Boy is doing well, despite a bad diaper rash.  The volunteer who regularly visits the orphanage was able to obtain some diaper cream for him, and we also learned that he has a 2-year old friend who follows him everywhere and hovers around him when he’s being fed.  We saw this little girl together with him in a lot of pictures we received a month ago of the orphanage, and they made my heart melt.  It is nice to imagine him being followed around by a “big sister” type, since I imagine he’ll have plenty of that when he gets home, too!

Our Piano Benefit Concert went well last night.  Stefan’s music was gorgeous as always, and we had about thirty people who showed up to support Baby Boy.  Together with gifts that we received from a few friends who couldn’t attend the concert, we were able to raise $1600.  Since this will be matched by Hand in Hand, that amount will be doubled to $3200!  With one last photography mini-session tomorrow, we anticipate being able to max out our matching grant from Hand in Hand, and pay the remainder of our country fee in October, preventing any delays in the adoption at this stage of the process.  God is so good.  We have been truly touched by people’s generosity–whether it’s been our sitter who refused payment during the concert, or friends from across the globe participating in multiple fundraisers through their online donations–God reminds us that He is continually working through others to help us bring home Baby Boy.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us raise the money for our country fee.

Of course I got sick again leading up to this fundraiser, but before absolutely collapsing this afternoon I did manage to briefly take E to the International Children’s Festival put on by students of Montana State University at a local park.  Although E mostly just wanted to play on the swings, I did manage to coax her into a few activities, including making a necklace at the “Africa” station.  There was a sweet, soft-spoken young man helping us, and I seriously wanted to hug him when he told me he was from the Congo.  I asked him where in Congo, and he said, “Do you know some cities in Congo?”  I said yes, and that my husband or I would be traveling to Kinshasa soon. His face lit up and he said, “You will love it.”  He asked how long we would be there, and I told him just a week.  He said, “I wish you could stay longer.”  If it hadn’t been so chaotic I would have loved to chat further with him, and am regretting not giving him my card or something so that we could have him over for dinner.  But maybe that would have been too forward.  He is studying Civil Engineering at MSU.  There was something about seeing such a nice, intelligent young man from the Congo that made me very emotional.  Maybe it was picturing Baby Boy as a college student, or just seeing some one who had comes from the fourth poorest country in the world on a path to success.

Our agency this week also began offering a new family escort service—something which, in a lot of ways, has potential to answer a lot of prayers for us.  The DRC coordinator, who travels to Congo quite often and knows the children at the orphanage very well, can now be hired as a family escort.  If hired, she will travel ahead of the family to the Congo, meet them at the gate, assist with every thing they need while in country and then fly WITH them back to the U.S.–helping out in immigration and everything.  The cost is her plane ticket plus $300.  While it costs less than traveling with two parents, since we wouldn’t have to pay for a second visa or food/lodging while in country, it would be an additional expense, and that is the ONLY thing that gives us pause.  We are hoping to hear back from many of the grants we’ve applied for sometime in October, so perhaps when we have a better picture of how we are going to fund the remaining adoption expenses, we will be able to know if we can make use of this service. If I end up being the one to travel, the added security and assistance while in country would be tremendously beneficial.  And it would also be wonderful to have an extra set of arms on the plane flight home so that I could get some sleep while Baby Boy sleeps.  And I have no doubt that if either of us were to use her service that we would learn a lot more about the Congo while in country, and also benefit from the guidance she gives when it comes to food or water safety while in country.  It is also something that would give those who are weary about me traveling some peace of mind.

Well, I think it’s time for a nice, long nap.  Thanks again to everyone who has helped make this month of fundraising such a success!

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